Movie: Gone girl(2014) – Cool Girls monologue
Director: David Fincher
“He loved a girl who doesn’t exist. A girl I was pretending to be. The Cool Girl.” The movie, “Gone Girl,” directed by David Fincher tells the tale of a brilliantly insane housewife; who fakes her death and frames her partner. Throughout the film we learn of her motivations for this act, and follow her partner’s, Nick Dunne played by Ben Affleck, bid for innocence, by trying to prove that his wife is alive. Although I found all of this text is striking, an aspect that I found holds a lot of significance is a two minute and twenty second monologue by our spurned housewife, Amy Dunne. Amy Dunne, played by Rosamund Pike, delivers this monologue after her “death” telling her audience about the cool girl persona. There are three parts to this monologue, first Amy tells us what the cool girl is. Secondly she talks about the unfairness of girls changing themselves to become the “Cool Girl” for men, but men never changing for women. Lastly she describes her bitterness when her own husband rejects her when she drops her own long held cool girl persona.
The Cool Girl, in Amy’s words, is the girl that every guys wants and is, ‘not like other girls,’ she is down to watch football and drink beer, she is ‘one of the boys’ while still holding onto the archaic housewife qualities of being beautiful and dotting on her partner. In this scene Amy cuts her long blonde hair short, and dyes it brunette; she sheds her size 2 jeans and spanx and finds a sundress that in the scripts words, “her extra flesh filling it easily.” This transformation of her looks not only seems to act as her disguise while on the run but also accompanies the monologue. This process shows Amy tossing aside her old Cool Girl persona. Typically the “Cool Girl” that springs to my and most likely others’ minds has long blonde hair, a tan and is casual, but classy. Amy cuts her long hair and dyes it brunette discarding this stereotype and she slips into something more comfortable to her body type. “Cool girl likes what he likes and puts him first and does it all with a f***ing smile,” Amy says this last quote while buying junk food and then drinking Coke while driving. She is no longer Cool Girl outwardly, she is shedding the body image that is created around it by eating foods she had never allowed herself before. During the monologue I found it clearly apparent of Amy’s disgust at the idea of Cool Girl, and her own disgust at herself for becoming what she most despises. We see a lot of women like Amy and the ones she frowns upon in real life. In our world, especially in schools, I see women and girls changing themselves and developing new personalities, often as a reflection of their current partner. This can be seen in another text, a Norwegian show called” Skam.” In the first season of this show the main girl character struggles with her self identity and by the end of the season realises that she has no self worth outside of other people’s opinions’ of her, especially her boyfriend’s, seen here in this quote: “I became insecure and desperate, your opinion meant more to me than my own, and that’s not how it should be.” In Skam the opinion of another is seen as more important, and the main character then decides to find her own opinion of herself before becoming involved with other people. Amy did this herself with Nick, her partner, and we see many girls in media and in life repeating the mistake of changing themselves to be liked; they become the Cool Girl of their man’s dreams, instead of finding themselves. This is an idea that Amy appears in the scene to hate women for, rather than inspiring them to become themselves. Although I strongly agreed with Amy’s monologue and its key ideas, her own reaction to these women and to herself for falling into the ‘Cool Girl’ trap is not a helpful message. Instead I saw it as a way to make women retreat further into the stereotype for fear of being judged by other women like how Amy does to the women she passes while driving.
The second aspect of Amy’s monologue, talks about a huge double standard that most women face; the fact that it is normally up to the women to change and the men to praise. This idea is not new, we can see as far back as the 1800s when finishing schools started up to teach women the ways in which they must behave in order to attract a husband. In the text this double standard is not taken so formally, but rather in more subtle means seen in Amy’s quote here, “I waited years for the pendulum to swing the other way, for men to read Jane Austen and make out with each other while we leer. And then we’d say, yeah, he’s a cool guy.” Amy leans to the more teenage girl ways where this double standard is obvious, before she and most women settle for the idea that the men aren’t going to act like women do, or get judged in the same way. There is often the double standard that for two girls to make out men will leer and encourage it, while being disgusted at the idea of two men committing the same act. Amy briefly mentions reading Jane Austen, hinting from her face that this female written, female lead book would not peak the interest of many boys. Her last remark of the quote, “ And then we’d say, yeah, he’s a cool guy.” takes us back to her point, Amy is done with the Cool Girl idea, she is done with the men in her life not facing the same stigma, and she is done with how early this idea is placed upon girls at a unreasonably young age. Lastly we see from her extreme actions that she is willing to throw away all that was once attached to the Cool Girl that Amy was in order to be reborn as her own person.
I believe that the most powerful part of this whole monologue scene is the last quarter or so. This is because it is the raw emotion of Amy describing her pain at being rejected by the one she loved. Amy reveals to the audience the problems they had in their marriage, the loss of both their jobs, Amy’s parents financial problems and then, them having to move into the countryside, and finally Nick’s affair: “Then he dragged me, penniless, to the navel of the country and found himself a newer, younger, easier Cool Girl.” Amy is very clearly bitter about how she has been treated in her marriage, and at herself for allowing herself to come down so low from her own standards for Nick. The final straw of the two’s broken marriage is when Amy sees that when she decided to drop her persona even a little, Nick does not love what he sees, and goes out finding a, “younger, bouncier Cool Girl,” in Amy’s words. This is a representation of how most affairs begin in marriages. One partner becomes bored or falls out of love with their significant other; in most cases it is due to their S.O becoming someone that cannot love anymore due to appearance or internal values. When Nick finally sees who Amy is he doesn’t love her anymore. She’s not the “Cool Girl” he told his friends about and that loves everything he does and doesn’t challenge him too much. So he starts an affair with a different woman, someone more attractive, younger and as the text portrays not as intellectual as his Wife. This is what sparks Amy’s revenge, and what can destroy a lot of relationships in our real lives. Amy finishes her monologue by saying how she thinks of their marriage as a game, one that she is losing: “You think I would let him destroy me and end up happier than ever? No. Never. He doesn’t get to f***ing win.” A lesson viewers can take away from this aspect of the monologue is at least that a marriage based off false identities, and where the love for one partner greatly outweighs the other is not particularly healthy or the love will not be long lasting. I took away from this scene that the reasons stated above can be the reasons for a lot of the failed marriages and terrible relationships that I see in media and in daily life.
This text, “Gone Girl,” is extremely evocative through its entirety, but the “Cool Girl” monologue is the most one of the most renowned scenes in the movie and also in the book. This is due to the ideas expressed by Amy and what the audience learns not only about Amy’s opinions, but also as a reflection of pushed societal behaviour. We as the audience see Amy visually break free, and renounce her Cool Girl title as she carries out extremely non-feminine acts. But from her speech I think we learn the most. She reflects on how our society allows for the pressure on women to change in order to suit men’s fantasies, rather than becoming someone we approve of ourselves. In conclusion this monologue is famous for a reason, It shows women, the taboo subjects and daily rituals of changing themselves for others and the darker connotations that can accompany it. I also think it begins a conversation about how our external should reflect the internal, teaching us how sometimes valuing the opinions of others, above our own can lead to extreme actions.